Over the last few weeks, we've been chatting with USA Truck company trainer Timothy Brown. So far, he's discussed his CDL training experience and shared his tips for success during the OTR portion of your training.
Today, we're going to get into the more personal side truck driving jobs present. Follow along as Timothy discusses how he makes the most of his time off and how he keeps in touch with loved ones back home.
Q: What advice do you have for getting along with your dispatcher/fleet manager/driver manager?
A: My biggest advice on that is that it all depends on your operation section. Miles come into play with your operations area.
If you have a fleet manager that really works for you, and works hard for you, then the miles will keep coming. If you get a fleet manager that’s just kind of half-heartedly doing it, you’re going to be disappointed sometimes.
If you can get in and talk to your fleet manager and tell him/her something like, “This is what I need to pay my bills, but this is what I want. I need 2,500 miles a week to pay my bills - anything else and I can’t do it. I want to go home every 14 days. If you get me what I need, and try to get me what I want, you’ll never hear a complaint out of me.” For the most part, it’s worked out pretty well for me.
Most weeks I get about 2,500 miles. Other weeks, not so much, but sometimes the freight is low or you’re in an odd place with not much going anywhere. Sometimes you just have to work back into that good freight area. On the high end I average about 2,600 or 2,800 and on the low end, it’s about 1,800. It all depends on the area and the type of freight that’s moving at that time.
Q: What kind of home time have you been getting with USA Truck?
A: On average, I get home every two to three weeks. Sometimes they can’t get me home right at that two week mark. If they have a really good load or something, I’d take that instead of another one that would take me closer to the house. But on average, I get home about every 2-3 weeks, then I’m home for 2 to 3 days.
Q: What do you like to do when you get some home time?
A: I make the most of every minute I have. From the moment I get home, until the moment I start my truck up and leave again, it’s all about everything I can do at home. Whether it’s going to dinner or going out to any little event, I do everything I can to make the most of my time at home.
Q: Do you have a wife/kids/family that you see when you get home?
A: I’m married with a 3-year-old son. The biggest issue there is just the separation. They’re not used to me being gone, so it can be an adjustment if you’re married or have kids and have never been away from your family. It’s going to take some adjusting to.
Q: Any tips on adjusting to the distance and keeping in touch with loved ones?
A: If you’ve got a phone and a Bluetooth headset, call and talk to your family as much as you can. If you’ve got a laptop with wifi, Skype with them at home. You can do anything and everything possible to make the distance not so much.
I talk to my wife on the phone constantly and she says it helps with the separation. Sometimes I’ll write letters home and mail them out at a truck stop. Sometimes I’ll send postcards. Any personal touches help. I may be gone, but I’m never far from home.
Q: What are some of your favorite states to travel through?
A: My favorite places are probably Pennsylvania and Virginia simply for the mountains and trees and stuff – especially Virginia during the fall. It’s absolutely beautiful. Then winter, my favorite places are North and South Carolina. The scenery there during the winter is really pretty.
As far as driving wise, the best place I’ve driven through would have to be Tennessee. The open road and just some of the stuff there is to see is awesome. Nashville is right there and it’s absolutely amazing. I think one of the best views I’ve ever had out here is coming off of the mountain from Cincinnati right after dark. It’s one of the prettiest things you can see because the city’s all lit up.
Stay tuned - next time we'll wrap up our interview with Timothy as he offers up advice staying healthy and information on adjusting to the new lifestyle truck driving jobs entail!
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